For the last few years, my home has been my office.
This followed years of working in a traditional office environment where I was surrounded by colleagues who put water cooler discussions before getting stuff done and phones which never seemed to cease ringing.
The switch has transformed both my life and the amount of satisfaction I derive from work.
Alas, this wouldn’t be possible without the following six productivity mantras:
1. Assign a designated working space
When I first started working from home, I made a huge mistake.
I spent most of my time working in the kitchen or sat on the couch. And, as comfortable as those two locations were, I soon realised that there was no separation; I finished work at the end of the day and found myself in the exact same room trying to chill out.
If you can, designate a single space within your home as your office and try to ensure it isn’t one in which you spend most of your downtime.
2. Apply productivity techniques to your home life
This was something of a revelation, but not immediately obvious.
By applying the kind of standard productivity techniques you rely on at work to your home life, you’ll build an inherent desire to get stuff done.
I now derive an immense amount of satisfaction from ticking off the final to-do item on my home DIY list. Even the laborious job of recycling has become something I want to get done, because it means I can finish the day with the knowledge that I’ve rounded off every single task.
As a result, I’m naturally becoming a more productive person.
3. Take advantage of flexible working
One of the greatest benefits of working from home is the ability to work flexibly.
Unless your job (or customer base) demands it, you don’t have to start religiously at 9am; if you wake early and feel inspired, you can get to work and finish a little earlier, instead.
Perhaps you need to head to the shops one afternoon to buy essentials for the weekend. With flexible home working, you can arrange your office tasks around those of a personal nature.
There are no time boundaries when working from home. Embrace the freedom!
4. Don’t overpromise (to others or yourself)
Another mistake I made when I first started working from home was to constantly overpromise exactly how much stuff I could get done in one day.
I’d fill my to-do list with countless tasks in the belief that my new surroundings would enable me to knock them all out of the park. In reality, I always ended up with a to-do list that was somehow bigger than when I started, because throughout the day I’d continually add items as they popped into my head - and never finished those I’d already promised.
Now, I spend every evening reviewing what I have planned for the next day, and never suggest to either myself or others that I can complete tasks in timeframes that require superhuman powers.
5. Don’t feel bad about watching TV
I watch TV occasionally when I work from home.
Sometimes, I’ll flick it on at 10am.
There - I admitted it.
And do I feel bad? Not at all - for one very good reason.
I only ever succumb to the many distractions available in my home when I hit a productivity roadblock. I may have been working on the same blog post for far too long, or exhausted my brain power on a client report - whatever the reason for my sudden bout of lethargy, I recharge my brain by doing something entirely non-work related.
6. Ignore the naysayers; do it as often as you need to
If you work for a business that allows home working but not every employee takes advantage, those who would rather reside in the office may display some apathy to you for doing the opposite.
As hard as it may be, don’t let these people get to you. Just as they’re entitled to work permanently in the office, you’re allowed to do so at home whenever you need to.
If the boss is happy with it and - most importantly – satisfied with your output, you’re following the correct path.
I hope you’ve found the above tips useful. If your home office is calling, make the most of it!
Mark Ellis is a freelance writer who specialises in copywriting, blogging and content marketing for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from freelance writing to workplace dynamics, technology and personal improvement.